Meet the Team
Lesley Parkinson, Executive Director
Lesley is the Executive Director at Restorative Thinking Limited, working with PCC’s, Youth Offending Services, Prisons, Probation Services, Local Authorities and partner organisations to manage the effective implementation of Restorative Thinking programmes, training, consultation and strategies.
Lesley worked in education until 2007, and successfully managed regional and national education programmes for Youth Offending Services and Attendance Centres before establishing Restorative Thinking Limited early in 2012. Lesley trained as a restorative practitioner and is ‘Highly Recommended’ as a Restorative Conference Facilitator.
Lesley promotes the restorative education of service users (including young and adult offenders, parents, pupils and children) both as a key life skill and as a means of addressing conflict.
In June 2013, Lesley received a Shackleton Foundation Leadership Award: http://shackletonfoundation.org/what-we-fund/shackleton-leaders/
Lesley has worked as a volunteer mentor for young people seeking employment and education, and as a volunteer with Victim Support. From 2012-14, she was a primary school Parent Governor and Link Governor.
Catherine Holland, Criminal Justice Consultant
Catherine is a writer, speaker, coach/mentor and consultant focused on developing the practice of senior leaders.
Catherine worked for 14 years in the Probation Service first as a Director for corporate services and later as Chief Executive of Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust, the second largest Probation Trust in the UK.
Catherine led SWM Probation Trust through extensive and challenging changes brought about by the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme, becoming Chief Executive of Staffordshire and West Midlands CRC, and later the newly formed Reducing Reoffending Partnership, incorporating DLNR CRC.
A former social worker and trainer Catherine’s values are routed in a belief in the capacity for people to grow and a desire for a more just and equal society. In Probation Catherine fostered positive relationships in the work place and promoted service user engagement in the design and delivery of services.
She strives to be an authentic leader and uses her passion, personal experience and story-telling to inspire others.
Widowed suddenly in 2016 Catherine has experience a major personal change. She writes and talks about her experience of bereavement and resilience and believes passionately that sharing such personal transformations can empower and support others.
Catherine holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies, and a MSc (distinction) in Organisational Development and Management Learning.
Catherine brings a wealth of experience and fresh thinking to her consultancy role with Restorative Thinking Limited.
Jackie Potter, Director, Consultant and Coach
Jackie is an experienced leader with a strong track record of delivering change and achieving results in challenging circumstances. She has worked in a variety of organisations at a national, regional and local level where she has successfully introduced fresh thinking and improved ways of working.
As Chief Executive of Corridor Manchester Jackie led a partnership of the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Central Manchester Foundation Trust and Manchester City Council to develop and implement a vision for knowledge based growth for the City by harnessing private sector investment and the assets of the institutions.
As Deputy Chief Executive of Blackpool Council she provided strategic leadership of the regeneration function, responsible for a Directorate of 500 staff, a revenue budget of £3.5m and a capital budget of £150m.
Jackie was a Member of the Government Office North West Management Board with responsibility for planning and transport policy across the North West including challenging housing issues.
Jackie has worked with senior boards and developed effective partnerships between sectors. She is experienced in developing strategies, action planning and improving performance and efficiency. A highly skilful facilitator with a wide range of delivery experience of economic development and physical regeneration as well as major organisational change and improvement programmes. Jackie is a Director with Restorative Thinking Limited and also works as a Consultant and Coach, using her leadership experience to support the company and colleagues with personal and business growth.
Chris Straker, Director, Education Consultant and Trainer
Chris is a former Head Teacher at Endeavour High School and co-founded the Hull Centre for Restorative Practice. Chris took up a full time post as one of the leads of the Hull Centre for Restorative Practice in 2010. During his time there, The Hull Centre was recognised internationally in restorative practice and its application across agencies working with families and young people.
Chris has drawn on this experience to develop training in restorative practice with Youth Offending Services, Children’s Services and Schools, developing leadership within organisations on strategic, wide-scale, implementation of restorative justice approaches.
Chris has been a speaker at national conferences across the UK; and internationally in the USA, Canada and Hungary.
In the May of 2013 Chris became an Assessor and Consultant for the Restorative Justice Council’s new RSQM award. This sees him working with agencies across the UK, to help them develop their restorative practice as organisations.
Chris is a Director with Restorative Thinking Limited, developing training packages, delivering consultation and training with Local Authorities, NOMS, Prisons and Probation Services, Youth Offending Services, Schools and Children’s Homes.
Dr. Helen Flanagan, Trainer and Consultant
Helen began teaching in 1986 in Kirkby, Merseyside, and continued to teach in secondary education until 2004. During that time Helen was Head of Department and Pastoral Senior Leader. It was during this time that she began training in restorative approaches. In 2004 Helen left mainstream teaching to take up a position with Sefton Local Authority as Behaviour Improvement Programme Manager which involved working with and advising schools: primary, secondary and special on developing inclusive and positive approaches to education, particularly behaviour. Having completed her MA in Inclusive Education Helen has developed a knowledge and understanding of Primary and Early Years education, Family Support and Special Educational Needs.
In 2007 Helen began working in West Lancashire and also across the whole of the county to support schools in developing restorative approaches to teaching and learning. Working within Skelmersdale for SHARES Helen has gone on to complete her PhD in Education, looking at the impact of restorative approaches on school culture and learning.
Through working with SHARES Helen has developed programmes that focus on building a consistent approach between home and school. She has written and delivers a very successful Peer Mediation programme and Parenting programme, both underpinned by restorative approaches.
Helen works with Restorative Thinking, writing and developing programmes, delivering training in schools, Children’s Centres and prisons, and training trainers in these settings.